August 23, 2010

Once upon a time, long ago, the earth was ruled by a king named Prithu. King Prithu was celebrated to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The king before him, King Vena, had been a demoniac and tyrannical despot. As such, due to his unpopularity, the wise sages of that time, seeking the benefit of the common mass of people, killed him by a curse. Not wishing to take up the reigns themselves, they prayed to Lord Vishnu for a good ruler, upon which Lord Vishnu Himself incarnated as King Prithu.

When King Prithu took over the reins of the kingdom, the citizens were suffering due to drought and under production of grains, vegetables and fruits. As the ruler, he summoned mother earth and questioned her regarding the reason for these problems. She replied that since the earlier king had stopped all sacrifices for Lord Vishnu, she was forced to curtail her production. Following her advice, King Prithu performed several Asvamedha Yajnas to make the kingdom prosperous. Due to his pious acts, the kingdom began to flourish on a level equal with that of heaven. King Prithu became celebrated even in the heavenly kingdoms.

When King Prithu was performing one such Yajna, King Indra, envious of the fame and glory of King Prithu, decided to play spoilsport. He disguised himself as a sannyasi in saffron robes and approached the Yajnashala. Since he was in saffron robes, no one stopped him. Taking advantage of the situation, he stole the horse specially meant for the Yajna and started running away from there. However, King Prithu’s son noticed him and pursued him. Finally, when threatened with a battle which would take his life, Indra relented and returned the horse to King Prithu. Resuming his real dress, he begged forgiveness from King Prithu, who readily did so.

However, from that day, it is said that frauds who wished to dupe the people, took on the garb of sannyasis. Until this incident, no one ever dared to commit the fraud of donning the garb of a sannyasi for some hidden motive. And the Srimad Bhagavatam, which relates this incident, mentions that Kali Yuga is full of such frauds who don the saffron robe just to dupe innocent people.

Now switching back to the present, ISKCON is an organization which was started in the year 1966 by His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – a genuine, bonafide Sannyasi in the Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada’s stupendous achievement of starting the movement with only Rs 40 and building it up to 108 centers all over the world with more than 5,000 followers in a short span of 11 years, while contributing immensely to the literary and philosophical world with his most authoritative translations and commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Isopanishad, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Sri Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Sri Sikshamrita etc., leave no doubt about his being an empowered representative of the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately, with his passing in 1977, the pristine movement he established, seems to have become afflicted by the “fraud sannyasi” syndrome. Riddled with accusations of child abuse, murders, drug abuse, illegal accumulation of weapons etc., this great movement seems to have been hijacked by gundas posing as gurus.

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu Case 1: Jadurani Devi Dasi

Jadurani Devi Dasi, Judy Koslofsky, an art student in New York City, joined the ISKCON temple in the mid sixties. She created some of the most remarkable paintings of Krishna used extensively in ISKCON publications, even today.

Later she moved to Los Angeles ISKCON Temple and was working as an illustrator for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (the book publishing trust that Srila Prabhupada established). At this time, one of her god-brothers (Srila Prabhupada’s disciple) explained to her that Srila Prabhupada had appointed only ritviks or Officiating Acharyas contrary to what the gurus we recl aiming. After study ing the transcriptions of the recorded conversations during Srila Prabhupada’s last days in Vrindavan, she became convinced that “these gurus were bogus; and they have stolen Srila Prabhupada’s Movement.” She began to speak openly to the devotees in LA temple.

Nandini DD (Nori J Muster), an eye witness to the incident reports: “Upstairs in the LA temple balcony, one morning, I heard a woman screaming outside. I ran to the window and saw two men chasing Jadurani down Watseka Avenue, toward the traffic on Venice Boulevard. The first grabbed her white sari, which was falling from her shoulder. The other tackled her and held her down on the sidewalk while another man opened the door of a waiting car. They forced her in and the car sped away. I ran outside as devotees gathered on the street and learned that Jadurani had been ejected for blaspheming Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami (one of the eleven self-appointed gunda gurus), saying that he wasn’t a “real” guru like Prabhupada.” (Betrayal of the Spirit by Nori Muster, pg 85, University of Illinois Press).

Rameshvara Swami (one of the self-appointed gunda gurus) staying in Los Angeles had ordered Jadurani to be exiled. She then took shelter of a friend-devotee in Pittsburgh.

She later went to New Vrindavan, West Virginia to paint some pictures for the temple there. After some time, she again started preaching revolution: that the eleven self-proclaimed gunda gurus were fraud gurus, as they had not been authorized by Srila Prabhupada. Kirtanananda Swami, (one of the self-appointed gunda gurus overseeing the New Vrindavan temple) who heard of Jadurani’s outspoken rhetoric, told his two overzealous female disciples, Isani and Paryani DD, “Do the needful, but don’t tell me about it.”

The next day the two women attacked Jadurani without warning, behind the temple and knocked her down. They kicked her in the head, shattering her glasses. Then they jumped on her chest and beat her in the face with their fists. Another male devotee walking past the temple heard the screams. He ran around to the back and saw that the two women were beating Jadurani. He rushed over and pulled off the attackers. Blood was pouring down Jadurani’s face, blinding her. Isani, one of the attackers, screamed, “Tear her blood soaked sari and give it to us. We will put up a flagpole. We want to show people what happens when you speak against our guru, Srila Bhaktipada (the honorific title given to the gunda guru Kirtanannada Swami by his disciples)!”

(Excerpts from Los Angeles Times reporting the th beating incident, Feb 15 , 1981 and from the
book, Guru Business by Sulochana Dasa)

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu case 2: Sulochana Dasa

The most severe response for this questioning of the gunda gurus was in 1986. Sulochana Dasa, one of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, criticized the self – appointed gunda gurus and started gathering evidence on what Srila Prabhupada had intended for his ISKCON society from his letters and recorded conversations. He was compiling his findings into a book titled, The Guru Business. When he was working on the last chapter of his book, one day in 1986, not very far from the ISKCON temple in Los Angeles, Sulochana Dasa was shot at point-blank range on the direction of one of the self-proclaimed gunda gurus, Kirtanananda Swami6!! Later Kirtanananda Swami was convicted in 1991 and sent to prison in North Carolina to serve a thirty year sentence.7
Gunda Gurus attack sadhu case 3: Yasomatinandana Dasa

Yashomatinandana Prabhu had joined ISKCON during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence and he had the good fortune to meet His Divine Grace personally. Srila Prabhupada said that he should preach in Gujarat and he was happy to see that many educated Indians were also joining the movement. He is now currently the president of ISKCON in Ahmedabad. He has been serving in ISKCON for our three decades. During the implementation of draconian Zonal Acharya system he was one of the victim of the gundaism of Guru specifically His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, one of the eleven guru fraudsters who unauthorizedly took over Srila Prabhupada’s position as acharya of ISKCON. Yasomatinandan prabhu, vehemently opposed the zonal acharya system. He was physically attacked with sticks by disciples of Jayapataka Swami in the holy dham of Mayapur when he voiced his dissent against the guru fraudsters, they even went to the extent of chasing him all over Mayapur and under threat forced him apologize to Jayapataka Swami.

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu case 4: Adhridharan Dasa

Adhridharan Dasa, Sunil Awatramani, came in touch with ISKCON in 1975 when he was a student in Miami, Florida. He soon joined ISKCON and later Srila Prabhupada appointed him as the Temple President of ISKCON, Calcutta. He too became aware of the selfappointed gunda gurus in ISKCON. He was also aware of the potential risks of speaking out the truth openly. Hence he remained silent for some time.

In 1998 he began speaking vociferously about the flawed gunda guru system in ISKCON along with Madhu Pandit Dasa, the Temple President of ISKCON, Bangalore. In 1999, the Governing Body Commission comprising solely of the gunda gurus expelled him from the ISKCON society. A group of about 250 hired gundas, disguised as ISKCON devotees, armed with sticks, choppers, knives and hammers mobbed the temple in Calcutta and physically threw Adridharan Dasa out of the temple8. The group of gundas acting under the direction of ISKCON-Mumbai, took control of the temple forcefully, doctored the accounting documents, fabricated a false case of misappropriation of funds, complained to the Calcutta Police and brought an arrest warrant against him!

Adridharan Dasa hails from a respectable family and was the ISKCON Temple President in Calcutta for over twenty years with no history of misappropriation of funds. But over night he was branded an undesirable element of ISKCON to be dispensed with!

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu 5: Madhu Pandit Dasa and ISKCON Bangalore

His Grace Madhu Pandit Das, a Civil Engineering graduate from IIT Mumbai (honored as one of the most distinguished alumnus of IIT Mumbai), took charge of the ISKCON Bangalore center in 1983. At that time, the center was just a fledgling one, running from a small rented house in Bangalore. Being the visionary that he was, His Grace Madhu Pandit Das gradually built up a team of more than 60 full time dedicated missionaries and raised several crores of Rupees to build one of the most recognized monuments of Bangalore city – the ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Mandir in Rajajinagar, Bangalore, which was inaugurated by the then President of India. All this was done by his commendable efforts with no help or support of any kind – either financial or moral – coming from the gunda guru camp of ISKCON. A genuine follower of Srila Prabhupada’s true ISKCON, he built up a formidable reputation for being an intelligent, discerning, sincere, honest and upright devotee. In fact, in a very short time, he was acclaimed as the best Temple President in the whole of ISKCON for his very high spiritual and managerial standards.

All this changed in the year 1998, when His Grace Madhu Pandit Das started questioning the gundagiri tactics of the gurus of ISKCON. Overnight, he was labeled a traitor and fraud and expelled from the very movement whose reputation in the country had multiplied manifold because of his single handed efforts. Despite the gunda tactics of false court cases and baseless allegations of fraud, he commenced the Akshaya Patra program in 2000, which has gone on to become the most respected and the largest such effort in providing free mid day meals to hungry children in the government schools of India, reaching out to more than 12 lakh children every day in 18 locations in the country. The gunda guru camp with all its might and reach, has been unable to even reach half the effort of this single individual. However, the gunda gurus camp has left no stone unturned in their attempt to malign and derail his yeoman effort. This despite the fact that this program has won the appreciation of even Barack Obama and Bill Clinton! However, their gunda tactics are being gradually exposed as they lost one case after another in a humiliating manner in the Supreme Court of India and the lower court in Bangalore. Still, undeterred and shameless, they continue their gunda tactics, now resorting to a widespread misleading fraud campaign on the internet. Even this is bound to fail. Truth will prevail and the gunda gurus’ fraud will stand exposed in the days to come.

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